Portsmouth Stalking Lawyer

Everyone has a right to privacy. To protect this right, the Commonwealth has enacted strict stalking laws. These laws prevent any repeated, unwanted contact with another person that puts them in fear of harm. While stalking is a serious charge, it is also highly subjective. Many accusations of stalking result from the harmless acts of a well-intentioned person. Those who have been accused of stalking could face misdemeanor or felony consequences.

If you are facing stalking charges, you should speak to a knowledgeable defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled domestic violence attorney could advocate on your behalf and help you build a defense.

Portsmouth Stalking Laws

According to Code of Virginia 18.2-60.3, stalking involves an act that places another person in reasonable fear of harm. For a conviction, the prosecution must show the defendant intended to place that person in fear or should have reasonably known fear of harm was a possible outcome. Whether or not it was reasonable for the defendant to know their acts might cause fear are often central to the case.

Proving intent in any crime can be difficult for a prosecutor. A defendant’s intent in a stalking case can vary. Not all stalking cases result from overtly threatening acts, though. Cases involving repeated public encounters, unwanted gifts, or constant expressions of romantic feelings could be harder to prove.

Another important element of stalking is that it must involve a pattern of behavior. A singular act will never qualify as stalking. However, only two incidents are necessary to make a stalking charge viable.

A skilled attorney could review the prosecutions evidence and help build a defense against the charges.

Consequences of a Stalking Conviction

A stalking charge could be considered a misdemeanor or a felony offense, depending on the circumstances.

Stalking is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor in Portsmouth. A conviction could net up to one year in county jail, a fine of no more than $2,500, or a combination of both. Repeat offenders face stiffer maximum penalties, though. Anyone with a previous stalking conviction in the last five years could face a Class 6 felony. This prior conviction could have occurred in any jurisdiction, not just Virginia.

Class 6 felonies are known as “wobblers,” which means the sentence could follow either misdemeanor or felony standards. This means a defendant could face either a maximum of one year in county jail or a maximum of five years in state prison.

In addition to these sentences, the court could also issue a “non-contact” order to the defendant. This court order requires the defendant to avoid making contact with their alleged victim or their family. A violation of this order could result in additional jail time.

Retain the Services of a Portsmouth Stalking Attorney Right Away

While many stalking charges are misdemeanor offenses, the consequences of a conviction could be severe. In addition to the potential for jail time, you could also face the professional and social consequences for a stalking conviction. Let a Portsmouth stalking lawyer help you fight the charges. Call today to schedule a consultation.